In the Forests of Serre
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

In the Forests of Serre

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  2,099 ratings  ·  119 reviews
In the tales of World Fantasy Award-winning author Patricia McKillip, nothing is ever as it seems. A mirror is never just a mirror; a forest is never just a forest. Here, it is a place where a witch can hide in her house of bones and a prince can bargain with his heart...where good and evil entwine and wear each others' faces... and where a bird with feathers of fire can q...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published June 1st 2003 by Ace Books
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about In the Forests of Serre, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about In the Forests of Serre

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I read that this book is a retelling of the russian legend "The Firebird". Not being aquainted with that legend, i cannot make comparisons.

The little i can say about this story,(for which i just can't find the proper words) is that the author is a master craft in her genius.

I think i have mentioned this, on another review on some other book by this author, but for me, Mckillip writing is the only kind of poetry that i trully enjoy.
The words are just beautifully chosen, and they fit perfectly l...more
Patricia A. McKillip just writes pretty. That's the only word I can imagine when I read her. It's such beautiful prose that paints a picture in my mind that carries me through the story with no problem.

This is maybe one of my favorite of her novels. Ronan, the prince of Serre, accidentally runs over the prized white hen of the worst witch in the Forest of Serre, Brume. She curses him with the ability to not find his way home if he leaves his house, at least until he finds her.

Sidonie, the prince...more
Alexandra Ray
I feel like this book was a puzzle. Each individual piece that I read seemed small and insignificant and maybe frivolous, but then I finished the book, all the pieces put together, and my mind is still blown by how gorgeous the picture is!

I find that her handling of so many characters is so interesting. She managed to weave a story through four separate povs with something like eight main characters. As a writer, this may be part of the reason for my awe. All the characters are well formed. I f...more
This actually was a pretty good book overall. I didn't think much of it at first, but it grabbed me toward the middle. Still, it wasn't so compelling that I didn't feel like I could put it down, it was mostly read because it was there. The characters really weren't horribly intriguing, or maybe it was the way that they were written wasn't horribly intriguing?
The princess was a typical beautiful and brave princess, the prince was a typical handsome and brave prince. I mean, it's not like I would...more
Mikko Karvonen
While all of McKillip's books have certain fairy tale -like qualities, In the Forests of Serre embraces them completely and becomes more a folk tale with certain Russian flavor rather than a traditional novel. In doing so, it tells a charming, very neatly constructed story that is at times in danger of becoming overwhelmed by its two flaws, but in the end manages to steer clear of them and offers a rewarding reading experience.

The folk tale quality of the story is evident in almost all the aspec...more
Perhaps one of McKillip's best fantasies and losing only to "The Riddle-master of Hed" for my favorite. Unlike "The Bells at Sealy Head," which I recently finished, "The Forests of Serre" is much more folkloric, mysterious and, in my opinion, enthralling, and all that keeps me from rating it as five-stats is something that I unfortunately find often in McKillip's writing: a certain sense that the story and characters could go further.

The theme of the book revolves around two ideas, that of the "...more
Ryan Mishap
A re-telling of an old Russian folktale wherein a mighty kingdom—Serre—is ruled by a fierce warrior king who does not remember where the magic of the land comes from. His son recently lost his wife and son and wishes to die, but the king will have him wed to a daughter of a nearby, smaller kingdom said to be great with magic. On his way back from a war, the prince accidently kills the chicken of a witch and she puts a curse on him that sends him feverishly running through the forest in pursuit...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary Catelli
Prince Ronan is being forcibly removed back to his father's castles, from the battles where he had been trying to kill himself since the death of his wife and infant child. He accidentally tramples on the white hen of the witch Brume, and when her requests for recompense are too dangerous, she curses him to leave his father's castle and never find his way back until he finds her again. After he is informed that he is marrying again, he sees a firebird and sets out to follow it in the enchanted f...more
Patricia A. Mckillip is my new-found favorite author. Written in beautiful prose, concealed meanings and descriptions in her writing create a vivid landscape of wizards and dragons, monsters and stubborn princesses, deceit and hard-won love. With a mysterious phoenix stealing away men's hearts and a cruel one-eyed king with a lust for power. The forest of Serre is full of its own wild magic that cannot be bottled up and controlled, though many try. A wizard too blinded by his own desires to noti...more
Monica Davis
A very imaginative tale, filled with interesting characters and magical adventures. In some ways it merely scratched the surface; offering a glimmer, a peek into the potential of what could easily be a second tale, or series of books that could stand the Forests of Serre.
Kathy (Kindle-aholic)
Set in a world where stories and dreams become real, In the Forests of Serre is a beautifully told fairy tale, complete with a beautiful (and strong) princess, a cursed broken-hearted prince, a wily wizard and an ogre of a king. The story draws you in, and just as Gyre fell in love with the magic of Serre, it's easy to be transported there for a time while reading McKillip's lovely prose.

Well drawn characters and a steady pace keep the story going to a magical end. Recommended for those who nev...more
It never ceases to surprise me the beauty of McKillip's writing: her words read almost like poetry, with such a prodigious use of metaphors and comparisons and awe-inspiring sentences that makes the readers loose themselves into the world she crafts; she describes it with such talent, to the point we can hear the wind rustling the leaves of a tree.

Seldom have I read another author with such an amazing gift for the written language... she really does make her stories read like poetry... or like a...more
Intriguing, entrancingly wandering story, beautifully told. I still fill a bit mystified and not quite satisfied by it all. I think that's the mark of a well-written story, leaving the reader ever-so hungry for more, but then again, I want to be satisfied by the singular tales and stand-alone novels I read, not left wondering if everything will work out or what, if anything, will happen next. I really enjoyed this book, though I had to work to keep track of where the story was wandering, who was...more
This book only got three of the four stars McKillip's books get mainly because I didn't feel that the storyline ever really gelled to the point that I cared about the characters as much as I did in her other books.

This one borrows much from Russian fairy tales (the Firebird, the witch with her house of bones that walks through the forest). It is enchanting and a good read, just not, in my opinion quite as good as some of her other books.
Flora Bateman
This was such a delightful read. McKillip has a way of weaving stories within stories making them as fluid as water. Woven in the story of Sidonie and Ronan is the threads of love lost forever thru death, love uncertain and found in unlikely ways, as well as life with out love. Its also the story of hearts that are broken, taken and mended and how much you miss of life if you don't see with your heart.
Emma Jolie
3.5 stars!

First and foremost, McKillips books have THE best covers. You can always get a glimpse of what the story inside will hold just by searching the cover. The artwork is just beautiful in every way.

The Forests of Serre is a retelling of the tale of "The Firebird". Having read this book first, I plan on looking more into the firebird tale in the future. This book is full of many feelings and it takes another glimpse into the human soul, determining the lengths a person would go to get what...more
Nov 30, 2008 Kate rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fairy tale buffs
Recommended to Kate by: Stephanie
Thank you, Stephanie, for turning me on to Patricia McKillip. If there were such a thing as "cozy fantasy," this would be it. I love her writing and her ability to make a short fairy tale into a rich story full of characters you can relate to, care about, and will remember. On to the next one!
As other readers have stated, I also find her writing too ethereal. It is very pretty prose but it lacks punch and an adult plot. I think it would be better if it was published as an illustrated (abridged of course ) children`s book...
Patricia A. McKillip- the author I love for a single idea or a certain character even when the book and/or execution is not that great.

And no, I'm not one of those people who will read anything from an author, regardless of quality. This is only the second McKillip book I've read.
I love this author's writing style- very descriptive, but never too much. She gives you guidelines, then lets you have your freedom in imagining what she's presenting. Sometimes this can get confusing, since you don't a...more
McKillip novels work, or don't work, for me based mostly on the strength of the characterisation. Her prose is lovely, her plots follow a very satisfying fantasy logic; these things are a given. I find that they need to be animated by compelling characters and relationships, though, or it's all just gossamer.

In The Forests of Serre … didn't work for me.

I thought it was a beautiful, twisty sort of fairytale story with a capricious narrative (that's a good thing). I loved the way McKillip used mag...more
Paola (A Novel Idea)
Originally posted at A Novel Idea Reviews

Rating: 4/5

Prince Ronan lost his wife and infant child, and now he seeks only to join them in the afterlife. Riding to battle recklessly, paying no heed to his own well-being, and leading his men dauntlessly through his father’s endless wars all prove in vain…until Ronan encounters the Mother of all Witches in a desolate part of his native Serre, and accidentally tramples her favorite white chicken. In her anger, the Witch curses Ronan to never find his w...more
Kate  K. F.
In The Forests of Serre is a book that looks at what is magic and what are stories. Serre is a small kingdom that has a great deal of magic but not a great deal of money. The only son of Serre has recently returned from war and wishes to live as peaceful a life as he can with his difficult father and quiet mother. Instead he angers a witch and loses his heart to the Firebird. When Sidonie of the neighboring and richer kingdom comes to marry him, she finds him entangled with the witch's curse and...more
Amanda Kespohl
If you've read my past reviews of Patricia McKillip's books, you've figured out by now that I worship and adore her writing. The poetry of her words, the dreaminess of her worlds, the exquisite romance, and the way she plays my feelings like a well-tuned harp... These things keep me coming back for more.

However, even though I've loved everything I've read by McKillip so far, this may be one of my very favorite books she's written. I was captivated by how beautifully she captured the grief of Pri...more
I fell in love with Patricia McKillip's writing many years ago when, as a teenager, I discovered her Riddle-Master trilogy in the library. From there, I pretty much read all her books as they came out. McKillip's writing is beautiful; it's lyrical, poetical, full of fantastic imagery and amazing ideas. But it also is never simple. Mostly, that simply enhances the story, but sometimes I find it opaque as well and I'm left confused. It's the former far more than the latter, but after failing to fi...more
This felt so different compared to all the fantasy I've read before. This was different. It was really hard to decide, which characters were the good guys and which were the bad guys. It kind of varied through out the story. It was really really hard to predict which way the story was going to go. Surprisingly good book. I liked the style it was written. Brume was amazing, didn't really know what was going to happen with her and enjoyed that. She was funny and just different. Ronan was also a go...more
Althea Ann
This book is McKillip's not so much re-told, but re-imagined legend of the witch Baba Yaga and the Firebird.
Princess Sidonie is sent to wed a prince from a neighboring kingdom to form a political alliance and keep peace. But Prince Ronan is still mournng the death of his previous wife and his child, and wants nothing to do with another woman, no matter how lovely. He flees into the wild country - country known to be inhabited by the dangerous and powerful witch Brume. Ronan ends up not only grie...more
McKillip's fairytale style of writing is exceptionally adept at soothing the reader into a trance-like state that allows the story to flow and twist about in a very Grimm sort of tradition. The characters are not especially deep. Very few details are revealed about the inner natures of even the main protagonists, but it allows the story to be what it is. You don't fall in love with the Prince and Princess the way you normally would in most of the modern fantasy dramas; the "bad guys" are not nec...more
When the witch Brume informs you that you are going to have a bad day, believe her. This book is another great read by Patricia A. McKillip. I found her writing very thought-provoking way in an introspective way. A few quotes: "The way to destroy a heart is to make it unrecognizable to the one possessing it... Do you know yourself?... I don't know anything... Then you know something important." I also love lines like this one: "He lay there on the forest floor; dazed and half-dreaming, while his...more
Nov 01, 2012 Nighteye rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Mckillip herself, Holly Black and Anne Mccaffrey
Recommended to Nighteye by: Elinor "Sandy" Wessman
Shelves: favorites
It's a good book, In this book she build her world and characters on a partly unexplained land full of mystic, mythical and fairytale-like creatures and persons... it creates a dreamlike landscape were you can thrust nothing to be as it used to be and everything, absolutly everything can happened!

The book is full with witches, sorceress, some mystic and heartcapturing firebird, spellbinded persons, mythological creatures, princes and princesses and not but not least mages...
Shortly it can be sai...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Into the Forest: In the Forests of Serre no spoilers 11 14 Sep 18, 2014 05:43PM  
Patricia Mckillip, book suggestion 3 10 Jul 08, 2013 08:52AM  
  • Fudoki
  • The Anvil of the World
  • In the Cities of Coin and Spice (The Orphan's Tales, #2)
  • Elfland (Aetherial Tales, #1)
  • The Fair Folk
  • Silver Birch, Blood Moon
  • The Innkeeper's Song
  • Deerskin
  • Thomas the Rhymer
  • Sister Light, Sister Dark (Great Alta, #1)
  • White as Snow
  • Moonwise
  • The Living God (A Handful of Men, #4)
  • Troubled Waters (Elemental Blessings, #1)
  • The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye
  • A Fistful of Sky  (LaZelle, #1)
  • The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest
Patricia Anne McKillip is an American author of fantasy and science fiction novels, distinguished by lyrical, delicate prose and careful attention to detail and characterization. She is a past winner of the World Fantasy Award and Locus Award, and she lives in Oregon. Most of her recent novels have cover paintings by Kinuko Y. Craft. She is married to David Lunde, a poet.

According to Fantasy Book...more
More about Patricia A. McKillip...
Riddle-Master: The Complete Trilogy (Riddle-Master, #1-3) The Forgotten Beasts of Eld The Riddle-Master of Hed (Riddle-Master, #1) Heir of Sea and Fire (Riddle-Master, #2) Winter Rose (Winter Rose, #1)

Share This Book

“Words, he decided, were inadequate at best, impossible at worst. They meant too many things. Or they meant nothing at all.” 119 likes
More quotes…